Friday, May 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays get final say, beat Tigers

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays got the final say on Sunday, taking what suddenly became an emotionally charged weekend series against Detroit with a 3-1 win that was the product of a strong Jeremy Hellickson start, a couple of clutch hits and shutdown relief work.

But then the Rays had a few choice words anyway for the Tigers, who, after complaining about what they felt was an inappropriately high-and-tight pitch from Fernando Rodney to superstar Miguel Cabrera the night before, sought revenge Sunday by actually hitting Ben Zobrist in the first inning.

First, there were words for Cabrera, who the Rays said over-reacted and was too "sensitive" about the Saturday night pitch that didn't hit him.

"This guy is outstanding, he's wonderful," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I just wish he wouldn't cry so much."

And words for Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello, who the Rays said should have at least been ejected, or perhaps subject to ensuing discipline, for intentionally hitting Zobrist, who said the pitch was heading toward his face, though he turned and took it on the wrist.

Porcello claimed the pitch "just got away from me," and Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who Sunday morning claimed Saturday's hard feelings were "history," shrugged it off as "part of the game."

Maddon, noting that "history repeated itself about the first inning,'' said it was "absolutely uncalled for," since the Rays hadn't hit anyone and it was somewhat hypocritical of Leyland given his prior complaints.

"Somebody with the control that Porcello has, you expect him to be able to throw the ball down," Zobrist said of the Tigers pitcher who entered the game having hit 1 of 334 batters. "And the fact that the ball was up near my face, I think it's cause for the umpires to do something in that situation."

And then the Rays had a message for the whole Tigers team, in a not-so-subtle pop-culture reference to Godfather-style revenge, even though they won't meet again this season unless it is in the playoffs.

"Just read (author) Mario Puzo, that's all, he'll give you all the answers," Maddon said. "That's how the family thing works. Just read it. There's many more opportunities to play good, hard baseball. And we will."

The drama on the field, before a Trop crowd of 23,437, was pretty good, too.

After Zobrist, one of the most genial players, was hit, he took a long look at Porcello, then told the umpires they should do something more than the warnings they issued given how obviously intentional it was. Zobrist admitted he was "a little bit" angry.

"He was upset," Maddon said. "There was some smoke coming out of his ears."

With the Rays (43-39) leading 1-0 after three innings, Cabrera, who for the second straight day declined to talk to reporters, had his say. He knocked a Hellickson pitch into the touch tank beyond the wall to the right of centerfield, just the second ball to make a splash landing since the pool for cownose rays was installed in 2006.

"The rays were in danger," Maddon said. "He could've gotten a phone call or a letter from some activist group."

And with Cabrera leading off the eighth, Maddon played a bit of a mind game. He sent the intimidating Kyle Farnsworth to the mound despite his 7-for-16 track record against Cabrera, but he had Joel Peralta continue to warm up, at least suggesting the Rays were preparing for Farnsworth to be ejected.

Farnsworth threw three pitches that were just inside, then on 3-and-1 Cabrera lined a shot to third that Kelly Johnson, filling in for injured Evan Longoria, snagged.

Then Maddon brought in Peralta and congratulated Farnsworth for a job done well.

"The way it was all setting up right there, I just thought he was the right guy to bring in at that particular moment," Maddon said with a sly smile.

Added Farnsworth, with a similar expression: "I got him out."

Hellickson pitched a solid six innings to post his team-record-tying fifth victory of the month, though two relievers did a lot to preserve the 3-1 lead. Jake McGee came on after Hellickson loaded the bases to start the seventh and got out of it unscathed. And Rodney, after throwing 32 pitches Saturday over two innings, came back and threw 20 for his 17th save.

By the end of the afternoon, the Rays felt plenty was said, and done.

"We won the game," Farnsworth said. "That's the main thing."

 
Comments
Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost two straight and nine of 12 times overall to the Red Sox, the Rays needed two things to go right Thursday:First, a strong start from Blake Snell.Second, some early runs against Rick Porcello from an offense that had...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Home cooking clearly agrees with OF Denard Span. The 34-year-old Tampa product continues to deliver, producing at the plate, running the bases, making diving catches in the outfield, and Thursday, even going over the short sidewall twice in hot pursu...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays weren't kidding about being serious that starting relievers gives them the best chance to win.So much so, they plan to do so again this weekend against the Orioles — in all three games. The plan is for Sergio Rom...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

The Rays aren't kidding about being serious in using relievers to start games.After unveiling the strategy last weekend against the Angels, manager Kevin Cash said they planned to use it again, and he made that official on Thursday, naming Sergio Rom...
Published: 05/24/18
For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Snell on the mound

For starters: Rays vs. Red Sox, with Snell on the mound

Having lost a pair of close games, the Rays will try again tonight to beat the Red Sox, and will have LHP Blake Snell on the mound.SS Willy Adames is in the lineup for the Rays for the third and what is expected to be the final time before being sent...
Published: 05/24/18
Rays morning after: Chris Archer, David Price sure matched up like they meant it

Rays morning after: Chris Archer, David Price sure matched up like they meant it

For two guys who said they didn't make much of matching up, they sure dueled like they did in Boston's 4-1 victory that was decided after they left.Chris Archer, the Rays current top starter, worked six impressive innings, allowing one run and four h...
Published: 05/24/18
Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' pitching rotation for the weekend series against the Orioles could have a familiar look: Romo, Romo, Romo.Manager Kevin Cash said using veteran right-handed reliever Sergio Romo as the "opener" in all three upcoming g...
Published: 05/24/18
Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Willy Adames was so excited to be in the big leagues, even if was for just a three-day cameo callup. So thrilled to make a smashing debut with a homer on Tuesday. So proud to have his parents and sister fly in from the Dom...
Published: 05/24/18
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

In a way, the timing of RHP Jake Faria's oblique injury seemed manageable in that RHP Nathan Eovaldi is close to coming off the disabled list and can step in. But on the other hand, the Rays finally could have four regular starters. Imagine that.Ther...
Published: 05/23/18
Rays’ Jake Faria may be out until August, Vidal Nuno called up

Rays’ Jake Faria may be out until August, Vidal Nuno called up

UPDATE, 5:32: Faria is looking at at extended absence, potentially into August. Cash said an estimate of 6-8 weeks was on the optimistic side. "From what we found out he got it pretty good," Cash said.  "So it could be a little bit longer than t...
Published: 05/23/18